A Doll Lover's Tale

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


Luis was a young boy growing up in a mostly Hispanic area of Columbus, Ohio. He had lived here all of his eight years, his parents having immigrated to the
U.S. while his mother was pregnant with him. For as long as Luis could remember, he felt apart from other children his age. He used to have many friends, but 
somehow, something changed when Luis was around six. Luis had always liked anything in the color pink. It wasn't that he didn't like boyish toys and such, but he
especially loved anything feminine or fancy, especially dolls. Near the beginning of first grade, Luis was begging his parents to let him take tap lessons. 
He got his wish. Luis looked forward to every Thursday evening when he went to a local theater for lessons. Even though it was nowhere near as elaborate as
the theaters in downtown Columbus, Luis felt like he was living in a dream world, dancing to his heart's content. He couldn't wait until he could take ballet and
get a part in one of the holiday productions. Unfortunately, Luis never got to take ballet. He no longer could continue with tap either. Luis' parents were
troubled by their son's interest in dance. Why wasn't he like his brothers? One day while Luis was at school, his parents removed his small doll collection from
his room. It made Luis feel ashamed yet confused because he didn't feel like he was doing anything wrong. He cried and cried in his bed, but he never asked his
parents about why they took his precious dolls. Instead, he became determined to please his parents. Even though Luis hated soccer and didn't have a natural 
talent for it, he went to a free soccer camp at the playground. He helped out at the local restaurant. Luis used to love delivering food to neighbors and 
greeting the food delivery drivers when they arrived. However, ever since he had to leave dance and especially after his dolls were taken, Luis became 
withdrawn and shy. 
 
One joy that could never be taken away was the flea market. It was located right behind el restaurante. Even though it was only open three days a week, the busiest days
at the restaurant as well, Luis always was permitted some time to stop by. It was a bustling, happy place full of vendors selling everything from popcorn and cotton candy,
antiques, religious gifts and toys. Most of the vendors were Hispanic and neighbors of Luis. But, Luis' favorite stall belonged to an older woman who everyone called Ms.
Millie. Ms. Millie had lived in the area her whole life. She'd been running her stall longer than anyone else in the market, remaining after demographics shifted in the 
area causing many changes. She sold mostly home goods items, various antiques and knick-knacks. Ms. Millie adapted to the incoming Hispanic population by adding
a small section for Catholic gifts. Shelves were dotted with cloth dolls wearing vivid fiesta dresses. She even had a case with beautiful jeweled tiaras for girls' quinceaneras. 
It was one of the largest stalls, and the most favorite of Luis. His eyes were instantly drawn to the upper shelves where rows of porcelain dolls sat neatly. In their 
delicate dresses of sateen and lace, they reminded Luis of the old home decor magazines of mama's in the attic. Long before Luis was born, in the 1990's, Luis' aunt
sent them to mama from the U.S. The Victorian era was back in a big way at that time. Luis loved to go up to the attic when no one else was around and page through
these magazines, marveling over the floral wallpaper, pale pink and green pillows on stately Victorian furniture. And the dolls. Painted porcelain, ornate dresses,
perfect curls. Luis imagined what it was like to live in a house like these at this time. It was so different than the life that his family lived, or even the life
that Tia Marisol lived. His aunt, who died several years ago, had been married to an American. 
 

Luis was careful to avoid Ms. Millie's stall, especially when his brothers and other ninos were around. Though, from just about anywhere in the building, he could see
the dolls peering down at their world below. It gave Luis a comforting feeling inside. He felt sometimes as if the dolls were there for him. For no one but Luis ever 
paid the dolls any mind. 

Millie grabbed her purse and travel bag, hurridly putting dishes in the sink. She seldom went to doll shows any more, but this one in Illinois promised so much that
she just couldn't miss it. Millie hated driving at night, but it had been a last-minute decision to attend to the show. She could stay overnight in Indiana, then 
get up early to make the show in time. 

Hours earlier that day, Luis was on his way to deliver an order when two bullies from the neighborhood began picking on him. Luis had never really been bullied until recently. 
Though he came from a very well-liked and respected familia, Luis' withdrawn behavior and delicate ways irked many, even those who called themselves family and friends. These two
horrible boys spat at Luis calling him a sissy boy, then grabbed his bag of food, slinging it to the ground. They laughed as Luis stood by and watched them crush the food
containers with their feet. They sped off on their bikes vowing payback if Luis were to ever say anything. Luis was so upset - he didn't know what to do. He told his
parents that he had stopped by the convenience store to buy some gum. He left the food at the store by accident, then when he went back, it was gone. He was scolded harshly
for being so foolish. An order lost, an angry customer. El restaurante was doing very well, but rising costs and property values were putting a strain on the family's 
livelihood. Gentrification was coming quickly as developers saw new promise in this area of the city, so close to the interestate and convenient to the downtown. Luis felt
so bad for both lying to his parents and for letting them down. "Why can't I just be like everyone else?" Luis thought to himself. "Why don't people like me? It is like there is a 
wall between them and I." He tossed and turned fitfully that night. It was a balmy summer night. Winds shook the leaves of the maple tree outside his window. Even with the
promise of storms, the wind called Luis outside. Though it was nearly midnight, Luis quietly crept through the house and out the front door. He turned toward the restaurant
then spotted the lights of the large brick building behind it that housed the flea market. It was raining now, but Luis abruptly made a left turn, walking toward el mercado.
He needed to see the dolls. They were the only thing that gave the young boy any joy. El mercado was in an old factory with large industrial windows. He could stand in the sill
of one of them, and also have some shielding from the storm that was brewing. As he was crossing to the side of the building, suddenly he heard a soft voice say, "Come." 
The front door was closed, the market dark. The voice was as clear as day, but there was no one! Still, Luis felt compelled to try the door.
It was open! Almost in a trance, Luis felt along the main hallway of the building to the stalls which were all gated and locked at this hour. As thunder crashed outside, 
lightening illuminated the inside of the market, catching on a display of Maria San De Guadalupe keychains, drawing Luis' eye. A wind shook the chains lightly. As Luis 
was watching them, a shimmery pink key appeared and attached itself to one of the chains. "Take it," the same soft voice said. Luis no longer was afraid. He knew what he 
was supposed to do. He walked to Ms. Millie's stall and put the key in the lock. The gate creaked open then suddenly the stall was full of light. The beautiful dolls got
on their feet, dancing and clapping merrily. Luis sighed contentedly. What a wonderful dream! 

When Luis awoke in his own bed at home, he shed tears. He knew it was too good to be true! Another dream was shattered. His life would never change. But, Luis'
despair was to be short-lived this time. A few days later, the family received a call from an attorney. Ms. Millie had passed away after getting in a terrible accident
just east of Indianapolis. Having no family remaining, she left all of the money in her estate entrusted to Luis, dependent on the promise that he take care of her doll
collection. It turns out that Millie was independently wealthy. She only ran the flea market stall to find someone who appreciated the art of doll collecting as much 
as she did. A letter from Millie was forwarded to Luis. "I am so sorry that I did not hear your cries. I wish that I could have gotten to know you. You are a very special boy, Luis.
Stay just as you are now. With love, Ms. Millie." No one noticed that the letter was dated a day after Millie passed. 

The End 


Submitted: April 02, 2022

© Copyright 2022 toadstoolwoods. All rights reserved.

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Comments

charlamaye

Nice would you like to look at my work i have something that you might enjoy (:

Wed, April 13th, 2022 1:02am

charlamaye

Nice hang in there Louie.

Mon, April 18th, 2022 9:06pm

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